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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Hamilton Health Hackathon 2018

The Hamilton Health Hackathon is coming up in early February 2018. Highly recommended for anyone interested in eHealth:


Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon 2018

Event Information


Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon 2018

McMaster Innovation Park, Feb 9-11, 2018

Event Sponsors

Pitch ideas, form teams, get advice from experts, and build a health app in one weekend. Present your finished product in front of a panel of judges for a chance of winning some fantastic prizes!

Healthcare faces many critical problems. Hacking Health is designed to improve healthcare by inviting technology creators and healthcare professionals to collaborate on realistic, human-centric solutions to front-line problems. Our weekend hackathons are fun, intense, hands-on events where small teams tackle tough problems in a supportive community of peers and mentors.
REGISTER TODAY and join us February 9-11 for our Hacking Health Hamilton Hackathon.
Be part of a global movement bringing innovation to healthcare...right here in Hamilton!

How to participate

Pitch Your Ideas on Sparkboard

As soon as you get your tickets for the hackathon, go to the Hacking Health Hamilton 2018 Sparkboard, a website that we are using for the Hackathon where you can pitch your project ideas, describing them briefly and listing their requirements (designer, developer, medical expert, etc), or find a pitch/project idea that interests you or that matches your skills.
Need inspiration if you're thinking about making a pitch? Check out last year's Sparkboard. You can also visit previous Hacking Health Hackathon success stories.

Weekend at a Glance

Pitch ideas and form teams on Friday night, get expert advice throughout the weekend, fuel up on the breakfast, lunch and dinner we will provide (see Event Schedule below), and present your finished product to our judges for a chance at winning several fantastic prizes!


Attendees are aware that photographs and video will be taken over the course of the weekend.
If you have any dietary or mobility restrictions, please inform us when you register.

Questions or Comments?

For more information, visit our website at http://hackinghealth.ca/city/hamilton-canada.
Email: hamilton@hackinghealth.ca
Twitter: @HHHamOnt

Saturday, December 16, 2017

The Future of eHealth

A Health Research Methology graduate course in the MSc eHealth program at McMaster University has a class on the future of ehealth. It was one of my favourite classes when I was a student 8 years ago, and I was asked to be the tutorial facilitator for it for the past several years. Part of the course content was a video scenario of what a future patient physician encounter will look like.  I will embed the video I just found on Youtube:

The encounter is very humanistic in spite of the technology and involves a lot of artificial intelligence in the form of voice interaction. There is also plenty of newer user interfaces - transparent augmented reality medical records - and instant appointment and medical record searching.

Another article to read for that class is by Vannevar Bush called "As We May Think", written in July 1945. Dr. Bush was the Director of Scientific Research and Development for the United States Government. He writes about something he calls a "memex" which would be very much like the computers we are using today.  At that time, there was an explosion of scientific knowledge around the world but there was no way to organize that knowledge or search on it. It is an interesting article to read if you try to imagine what someone writing the article today would have to say about technology or medicine 70 years from now, and actually coming to close to painting an accurate picture about it. If technology is changing exponentially, will that even be possible?

The explosion of knowledge has continued since then and we collect, distribute and analyze it daily as it arrives in our twitter and facebook feeds. A lot of the information that can be gleaned about the future of eHealth is thus kind of "grey literature" and not something that you can search and find on PubMed. These days I find viewing video stories on futurism.com the best ways I know to become excited about the future. "The pull of the future is greater than the push from the past" - I am still trying to find out which famous philosopher or scientist said that.

Here are just a few of the sources suggestive of the future of eHealth that I have been following with interest.  The first is Ray Kurzweil and his Accelerating Intelligence website.  Ray is a computer scientist and inventor who believes in transhumanism and indefinite life extension.  His group is always following the latest scientific advances and inventions of all kinds, and not just ones related to health technology. For example, I just read today a story they posted about a new kind of RFID tag for patients. This tag:
The RFID tags measure internal body motion, such as a heart as it beats or blood as it pulses under skin. Powered remotely by electromagnetic energy supplied by a central reader, the tags use a new concept called “near-field coherent sensing.” Mechanical motions (heartbeat, etc.) in the body modulate (modify) radio waves that are bounced off the body and internal organs by passive (no battery required) RFID tags.

The modulated signals detected by the tag then bounce back to an electronic reader, located elsewhere in the room, that gathers the data. Each tag has a unique identification code that it transmits with its signal, allowing up to 200 people to be monitored simultaneously.

A recent news feed I have been following is the Medical Futurist, Dr. Bertalan Mesko. Recently Dr. Mesko has had some involvement consulting with the Government of Canada, as you may read in his article: "Canada Brings Automation to Healthcare: An Example for Governments to Follow". Really worth following on Twitter or Facebook.

Another group that is interesting, but they are more about the current state and the breaking trends of Medicine and eHealth, is the Exponential Medicine group lead by Dr. Daniel Kraft- a part of the Singularity University. Similarly, there is the ongoing work and research of Dr. Eric Topol. Most of the students in my eHealth class that I was facilitating hadn't even heard of Dr. Topol so I was a bit taken aback.

In short, if you are not interested in the future of eHealth, I don't think there is any way that one would appreciate the changes that are currently going on.  In fact, the guest lecturer at the McMaster future of eHealth class, Dr. Ted Scott, Vice President Research & Chief Innovation Officer, did not talk about the future so much as he did about current innovations that are starting within the Hamilton Health Sciences. And this just made me think of something I learned when I was a student of anthropology many years ago, that yesterday's pseudo-science and magic is todays science.

Monday, November 6, 2017

3 dangerous ideas from Ray Kurzweil

 File this email I received from a Peter Diamandis subscription list under the Future of eHealth?

Recently I interviewed my friend Ray Kurzweil at the Googleplex for a 90-minute (live) webinar on disruptive and dangerous ideas, a prelude to my fireside chat with Ray at Abundance 360 this January. (Watch the replay here.)
Ray is my friend and the Co-founder and Chancellor of Singularity University.  He is also an XPRIZE Trustee, the Director of Engineering at Google, and one of the best predictors of our exponential future.
It’s my pleasure to share with you 3 compelling ideas that came from our conversation.
1. The Nation-State Will Soon Be Irrelevant
Historically, we humans don’t like change. We like waking up in the morning and knowing that that the world is the same as the night before.
That’s one reason why government institutions exist: to stabilize society.
But how will this change in 20 or 30 years? What role will stabilizing institutions play in a world of continuous, accelerating change?
“Institutions stick around, but they change their role in our lives,” Ray explained. “They already have. The nation-state is not as profound as it was. Religion used to direct every aspect of your life, minute to minute. It’s still important in some ways, but it's much less important, much less pervasive. [It] plays a much smaller role in most people's lives than it did, and the same is true for governments.”
Ray continues: “We are fantastically interconnected already. Nation-states are not islands anymore. So we're already much more of a global community. The generation growing up today really feels like world citizens much more than ever before, because they're talking to people all over the world and it's not a novelty.”
I’ve previously shared my belief that national borders have become extremely porous, with ideas, people, capital and technology rapidly flowing between nations. In decades past, your cultural identity was tied to your birthplace. In the decades ahead, your identify is more a function of many other external factors. If you love space, you’ll be connected with fellow space-cadets around the globe more than you’ll be tied to someone born next door.
2. We’ll hit longevity escape velocity before we realize we’ve hit it.
Ray and I share a passion for extending the healthy human lifespan.
I frequently discuss Ray’s concept of “longevity escape velocity” — the point at which, for every year that you’re alive, science is able to extend your life for more than a year.
Scientists are continually extending the human lifespan, helping us cure heart disease, cancer, and eventually neurodegenerative disease. This will keep accelerating as technology improves.
During my discussion with Ray, I asked him when he expects we’ll reach “escape velocity...”
His answer? “I predict it’s likely just another 10 to 12 years before the general public will hit longevity escape velocity.”
“At that point, biotechnology is going to have taken over medicine,” Ray added. “The next decade is going to be a profound revolution.”
From there, Ray predicts that nanorobots will “basically finish the job of the immune system,” with the ability to seek and destroy cancerous cells and repair damaged organs.
As we head into this sci-fi-like future, your most important job for the next 15 years is to stay alive. “Wear your seatbelt until we get the self-driving cars going,” Ray jokes.
The implications to society will be profound.  While the scarcity-minded in government will react saying, “Social Security will be destroyed,” the more abundance-minded will realize that extending a person’s productive earning lifespace from 65 to 75 or 85 years old would be a massive boom to the GDP.
3. Technology will help us define and actualize human freedoms.
The third dangerous idea from my conversation with Ray is about how technology will enhance our humanity, not detract from it.
You may have heard critics complain that technology is making us less human, and increasingly disconnected.
Ray and I share a slightly different viewpoint: that technology enables us to tap into the very essence of what it means to be human.
“I don’t think humans even have to be biological,” explained Ray. “I think humans are the species that changes who we are.”
Ray argues that this began when humans developed the earliest technologies -- fire and stone tools. These tools gave people new capabilities, and became extensions of our physical bodies.
At its base level, technology is the means by which we change our environment, and change ourselves. This will continue, even as the technologies themselves evolve.
“People say, ‘Well, do I really want to become part machine?’ You're not even going to notice it,” says Ray, “because it's going to be a sensible thing to do at each point.”
Today, we take medicine to fight disease and maintain good health, and would likely consider it irresponsible if someone refused to take a proven, life-saving medicine.
In the future, this will still happen -- except the medicine might have nanobots that can target disease, or will also improve your memory so you can recall things more easily.
And because this new medicine works so well for so many, public perception will change. Eventually, it will become the norm… as ubiquitous as penicillin and ibuprofen are today.
In this way, ingesting nanorobots, uploading your brain to the cloud, and using devices like smart contact lenses can help humans become, well, better at being human.
Ray sums it up: “We are the species that changes who we are to become smarter and more profound, more beautiful, more creative, more musical, funnier, sexier.”
Speaking of sexuality and beauty, Ray also sees technology expanding these concepts. “In virtual reality, you can be someone else. Right now, actually changing your gender in real reality is a pretty significant, profound process, but you could do it in virtual reality much more easily and you can be someone else. A couple could become each other and discover their relationship from the other's perspective.”
In the 2030s, when Ray predicts sensor-laden nano robots will be able to go inside the nervous system, virtual or augmented reality will become exceptionally realistic, enabling us to “be someone else and have other kinds of experiences.”
Why Dangerous Ideas Matter
Why is it so important to discuss dangerous ideas?
I often say that the day before something is a breakthrough, it’s a crazy idea.
By consuming and considering a steady diet of “crazy ideas,” you train yourself to think bigger and bolder… a critical requirement for making impact.
As humans, we are linear and scarcity-minded.
As entrepreneurs, we must think exponentially and abundantly.
At the end of the day, the formula for a true breakthrough is equal to “having a crazy idea” you believe in, plus the passion to pursue that idea against all naysayers and obstacles.

Join Me

1. A360 Executive Mastermind: This is the sort of conversation I explore at my Executive Mastermind group called Abundance 360. The program is highly selective, for 360 abundance and exponentially minded CEOs (running $10M to $10B companies). If you’d like to be considered, apply here.
Share this with your friends, especially if they are interested in any of the areas outlined above.
2. Abundance-Digital Online Community: I’ve also created a Digital/Online community of bold, abundance-minded entrepreneurs called Abundance-Digital.
Abundance-Digital is my ‘onramp’ for exponential entrepreneurs – those who want to get involved and play at a higher level. Click here to learn more.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

the world is (still) better than you think - reposted from Peter Diamandis

Your mindset matters — now more than ever.
We are in the midst of a drug epidemic.

The drug? Negative news. The drug pushers? The media.

As I wrote in Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, we pay 10x more attention to negative news than positive news.

We are being barraged with negative news on every device. This constant onslaught distorts your perspective on the future, and inhibits your ability to make a positive impact.

In this blog, I’ll share new “evidence for abundance” -- charts and data that show the world is getting better. I’ll also share positive news and technological breakthroughs, all of which occurred in 2017 so far.

Note: This isn’t about ignoring or minimizing the major issues we still face around the world. It’s about countering our romanticized views of the world in centuries past with data.

My hope is that you’re able to see the world as it is — a world that is still getting better. My goal here is to help you protect your abundance mindset despite this barrage of negative news.

If you have a negative-minded person in your life, forward this blog to them so they can look at the actual data.

Let’s dive in...

1. Global Economy

The first area to explore is our global economy. Over the last 200 years, the world’s GDP has *skyrocketed* 100-fold. Humankind has never been more prosperous and productive.
World GDP Over the Last Two Millennia
The graph above depicts the economic output per person around the world over the last 2,000 years. Here we see exponential growth independent of war, famine or disease.
Technology drove much of this economic growth, and there’s no signs of slowing.

Banking the Unbanked: One especially promising area of economic growth involves empowering the “unbanked” — the 2 billion people worldwide who lack access to a bank account or financial institution via a digital device. In September 2017, the government of Finland announced a partnership with MONI to create a digital money system for refugees.
The system effectively eliminates some of the logistical barriers to financial transactions, enabling displaced people to participate in the economy and rebuild their lives.
Refugees will be able to loan money to friends, receive paychecks and access funds using prepaid debit cards linked to digital identities on the blockchain -- without a bank.
Blockchain & Government: Governments are investing aggressively in digitization themselves. The small country of Estonia, for example, already has an e-Residency program. The digital citizenship lets residents get government services and even start companies in the EU without ever traveling or living there.

In late August 2017, Kaspar Korjus, who heads up that e-Residency program, revealed the Estonian government’s exploration of creating an initial coin offering (ICO) and issuing crypto tokens to citizens to raise government funds.

That same month, the Chinese government announced its intent to use blockchain technology for collecting taxes and issuing invoices. This builds on previous experiments China’s central bank is conducting with its own cryptocurrency.

2. Health

No matter where in the world you are, mortality rates have dropped precipitously over the last 300 years.
The following chart shows life expectancy at birth in various countries. Just 100 years ago, a child born in India or South Korea was only expected to live to 23. Fast forward to today, and India’s life expectancy has tripled. South Korea’s life expectancy has quadrupled, and now is higher than in the U.K.
Global Life Expectancy
Plummeting Teen Births: Another measure of a nation’s health is how it responds to preventable public health issues. Here in the U.S., teen births are down an impressive 51 percent over the last decade, going from from 41.5 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 2007 to 20.3 births per 1,000 teenage girls in 2016.

I share the following graph because, by the numbers, teen girls who have babies will have a harder life than their peers who delay motherhood.

As the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services notes, they’re more likely to drop out of high school, rely on public assistance, and have children with “poorer educational, behavioral and health outcomes over the course of their life than kids born to older parents.”
Since these statistics were first compiled in 1991, teen births have dropped 67 percent.
U.S. Birth Rates, by Age Group (1991 - 2015)
As exponential technologies continue to advance, we’ll see even more healthcare breakthroughs. Here’s a sampling from this year:

Exponential Tech Impact on Health:
 Most exciting these days is the tremendous impact that exponential technologies are having on Health.
  • Robotics: Last month, a robot dentist in China successfully implanted 3D-printed teeth into a female patient’s mouth with “high precision.” The only human medical staff involvement was to conduct light setup and a pre-test. Imagine when such robots are in every healthcare facility on the planet, delivering service for the cost of electricity.
  • Virtual Reality: VR is also entering the operating room. In July 2017, University of Minnesota doctors used VR to prepare for a challenging non-routine surgery -- separating a pair of twins conjoined at the heart. Not only was the life-saving surgery a success, the VR prep gave doctors unforeseen insights that prompted them to accelerate the surgery by several months. It won’t be long until we refuse to have surgery completed by any human who hasn’t prepared in virtual reality using a personalized 3D model.
  • CRISPR/Gene Editing: Finally, in August 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever treatment that uses gene editing to transform a patient’s own cells into a “living drug.” Kymriah, a one-time treatment made by Novartis, was approved to treat B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia -- an aggressive form of leukemia that the FDA calls “devastating and deadly.” The FDA is currently considering over 550 additional experimental gene therapies. What happens to our healthy human lifespan as these life-saving treatments demonetize and become universally accessible?

3. Environment

Thirty years ago, the world signed the Montreal Protocol to prevent the depletion of the Ozone Layer. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) credits that agreement with preventing an estimated 280 million additional cases of skin cancer, 45 million cataracts, and 1.5 million skin cancer deaths between its signing in 1987 and the year 2050. Without the Montreal Protocol, the planet would have been about 4 degrees warmer by 2050 (...resulting in more extreme weather events like droughts, floods and hurricanes).

As the graph below clearly depicts, the global annual death rate from natural disasters has plummeted over the past century.
Global Annual Death Rate From Natural Disasters
Why has this happened?  It’s the impact of exponential technologies (satellites, sensors, networks, machine learning), which enable humans to better image, predict and model disasters. These models provide early warning systems, enabling citizens to flee to safety and for first responders to send supplies and food to remote areas in time.

Drones & the Environment: Previously, animals were counted manually by researchers who had to spot them from helicopter or prepositioned camera footage. Now, a drone captures footage, the machine learning system counts different types of animals, and human volunteers help train the algorithm by verifying detections.

Faster, cheaper, easier, and more accurate.

And in Bengaluru, researchers at the Indian Institute of Science are fighting deforestation with camera-equipped drones that drop seeds in areas they otherwise wouldn’t be able to explore. Their goal is to seed 10,000 acres in the region.

What becomes possible when thousands of teams — not simply individuals and a handful of research teams — leverage these tools to protect the environment?

4. Energy

A key measure of economic growth, living standards and poverty alleviation is access to electricity.

This graph uses data from the World Bank and the International Energy Agency’s definition of electricity access, which is delivery and use of at least 250 kilowatt-hours per year in rural households and 500 kilowatt-hours per year in rural households.

Simply put, more people around the world have access to electricity than ever, and the absolute number of those without access to electricity is dropping (despite population growth).

Take a look at the chart below to see how various regions of the world are meeting their energy needs.
Share of the Population With Access to Electricity
As you see above, India has gone from 45 percent access to electricity in 1990 to nearly 80 percent in 2014.
Afghanistan has seen an even more dramatic improvement, going from 0.16 percent of the population in 2000 to 89.5 percent of the population in 2014.
As renewable energy sources become cheaper and more accessible, we’ll reach total electrification.
Here too, we’re making great progress. In 2016, solar power grew faster than any other fuel source for the first time ever. Around the world, solar prices are still dropping.

The latest forecast from GTM Research reports prices of $2.07 per watt in Japan to $.65 per watt in India, with prices dropping across hard and soft costs.
Historical and Forecasted Utility PV System Pricing, 2013 - 2022E
In 2017 alone, we saw wind power become cheaper than nuclear in the U.K., with the cost of subsidies slashed in half since 2015.

As the BBC reports, during the U.K.’s 2015 subsidy auction, “offshore wind farm projects won subsidies between £114 and £120 per megawatt hour.” Just two years later, two firms committed to a guaranteed price of £57.50 per megawatt hour.

Looking stateside, the U.S. Department of Energy announced in September 2017 that utility-scale solar has officially hit its 2020 cost targets three years early — with generation costs of $1 per watt and energy consumption costs of $0.06 per kilowatt-hour.
US Commercial & Residential Solar Costs

5. Food

Despite the headlines, we’re making steady progress in the realm of food scarcity and hunger.

This graph features World Bank data on the percentage of the population that has an inadequate caloric intake. Globally, 18.6 percent of the population was undernourished in 1991; by 2015, it dropped to 10.8 percent.
Prevalence of Undernourishment in Developing Countries
Time and again, technology is making scarce resources abundant. I’ve written about bioprinted meat, genetically engineered crops, vertical farming, and agriculture robots and drones. Two more examples from 2017 so far:
  • Human-Free Farms: In a 1.5-acre remote farm in the U.K., Harper Adams University and Precision Decisions recently harvested their first crop of barley. The twist? The farm is run autonomously. Instead of human farm workers, Hands Free Hectare uses autonomous vehicles, machine learning algorithms and drones to plant, tend and harvest.  
  • Food From Electricity: Another big idea in the fight against food scarcity and undernourishment comes out of Finland, where researchers are creating food from electricity. The team, formed of researchers from the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) and the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, have created a machine that runs on renewable energy to produce nutritious, single-cell proteins. The system is deployable in a variety of environments hostile to traditional agriculture, and future iterations will be able to produce food anywhere, from famine-stricken deserts to space.
Looking at the data, we truly live in the most exciting time to be alive.
And if your mindset enables you to see problems as opportunities, the future is even more exciting than the present.

Join Me

1. A360 Executive Mastermind: This is the sort of conversation I explore at my Executive Mastermind group called Abundance 360. The program is highly selective, for 360 abundance and exponentially minded CEOs (running $10M to $10B companies). If you’d like to be considered, apply here.
Share this with your friends, especially if they are interested in any of the areas outlined above.
2. Abundance-Digital Online Community: I’ve also created a Digital/Online community of bold, abundance-minded entrepreneurs called Abundance-Digital.
Abundance-Digital is my ‘onramp’ for exponential entrepreneurs – those who want to get involved and play at a higher level. Click here to learn more.


  • U.S.: More wealthy people, fewer poor people. (Axiom)
  • Economic output per person around the world over the last 2,000 years (Our World in Data)
  • Finland: Digital money system for refugees (Medium)
  • China to experiment with collecting taxes via blockchain (MIT Technology Review)
  • Estonia considers ICO (Medium)
  • Mortality inequality by nation (inequality of life expectancy) drops (Sam Peltzman)
  • Teen births down 51% over last 10 years (Vox)
  • Vital Statistics - Teen Births, 2016 (CDC)
  • Teen pregnancy and childbearing (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services)
  • First robot dental surgery (Engadget)
  • FDA-Approved Gene Altering Treatment (NYTimes)
  • Doctors use VR in life-saving treatment for conjoined twins (Washington Post)
  • The Montreal Protocol is working (National Geographic)
  • Impact of the Montreal Protocol (EPA)
  • Annual number of deaths from natural disasters (Our World in Data)
  • Wildlife - Drones used to track wild animal populations (MIT Technology Review)
  • Reforestation - Bengaluru: Using Drones to plant forests (Your Story)
  • Share of the population with access to electricity (Our World in Data)
  • UK: Wind power cheaper than nuclear (BBC)
  • US: Solar costs beat government goals by three years (Quartz)
  • Solar costs are hitting jaw-dropping lows in every region of the world (Green Tech Media)
  • Prevalence of undernourishment in developing countries (Our World in Data)
  • Scientists make food from electricity (Futurism)
  • UK: “Hands-Free Hectare” robot farm plants, oversees harvests barley without humans (Digital Trends)